Celebrating the Greatness of Black History Month

by: Farrah Daniel, Better Bike Share Partnership Writer

Photo by Library of Congress

“The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.” — W.E.B. Du Bois

Happy Black History Month! 

In 1926, historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History officially dubbed the second week of February as “Negro History Week.” It took a few decades but by 1976, Black History Month was recognized across America.

A theme is designated every year, and this year is “African Americans and the Vote,” which honors the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment that granted women’s suffrage as well as the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment that gave black men the right to vote.

While this year’s theme is quite fitting for the current political climate in the U.S., it’s also a representation of how tireless and courageous our African-American predecessors were in their fight for equity and freedoms we have today. 

To celebrate these iconic figures, the bike share industry is showing just how much fun you can have while commemorating this special anniversary. For starters, our friends at the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) created a thread on Twitter discussing the “Black inventors whose innovations laid the groundwork for the transportation systems we use today.” 

Let’s take a look at some other events that took place this month, including some you can still attend.

Black Excellence: Past and Present

Photo courtesy of Indego

Hosted by Indego and Education Program Specialist Greg Young of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (BCGP), this Black History Month group ride will be focused on highlighting historical black sites in South Philadelphia’s Old Seventh Ward.

The tour includes visiting The Institute for Colored Youth, a home where young black boys can study, and the famous home of W.E.B Du Bois. BCGP’s Maryem Gad shares the group ride will also visit thriving black-owned businesses in the area, like Atomic City Comics and Marsh and Mane. 

“This is our third year. I’m really excited to extend our programming and just go out into the community to show them how much fun bike riding can be and how it’s such an easy thing to add to your routine,” says Gad. 

Sign-ups are still open, so check it out if you’re in the area! You can bring your own bike or use an Indego e-bike for free. Helmets will be provided.

Philly’s bustling with activities this year, so check out Indego’s Guide to Celebrating Black History Month to see other ways you can immerse yourself in rich African history and events before the end of the month. 

Divvy’s Black History Month x Cycling

Photo courtesy of Divvy and Black Girls Do Bike

In honor of Black History Month, Divvy bike share has been celebrating seven Chicago black-led cycling groups to recognize how the city’s black communities encourage bicycle advocacy, education, and safety throughout Chicago. 

Each week of February, Divvy will shine a spotlight on a different cycling group! Keep with these posts on <Twitter> and <Instagram>. 

goDCgo’s Top 10 Sites to See for Black History Month

Mary McLeod Bethune memorial. Photo courtesy of goDCgo

This year, goDCgo has outlined the top 10 sites to see in Washington D.C. this month and even includes which Capital Bike Share station is nearby to dock your bike. 

  • A. Philip Randolph Monument – Dock your bike at Columbus Circle/Union Station.
  • African American Civil War Memorial Museum – Dock your bike at 10th & U St NW.
  • Carter G. Woodson Home & Park – Dock your bike at 8th and O St NW.
  • Frederick Douglass National Historic Site – Dock your bike at Pleasant St & MLK Ave SE.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial – Dock your bike at Ohio Dr & West Basin Dr SW/MLK & FDR Memorials.
  • Mary Mcleod Bethune House – Dock your bike at 14th & Rhode Island Ave NW.
  • Mary Mcleod Bethune Memorial  – Dock your bike at Lincoln Park/13th & East Capitol St NE.
  • Mayor Marion Barry Statue – Dock your bike at 14th & D St NW/Ronald Reagan Building.
  • National Museum for African American History & Culture – Dock your bike at 15th St & Constitution Ave NW.
  • Sojourner Truth Bust – Dock your bike at 1st & D St SE.

This is a perfect weekend activity! Grab a bike and (safely) hit the streets to learn more about African Americans’ many contributions to civilization. 

Black History Heritage Ride 

Greensboro Transit Agency’s Black History Heritage ride bus

Since 2017, North Carolina’s Greensboro Transit Agency has released a custom-decaled bus filled with the accomplishments and contributions made by African-Americans and their advocates. 

Community residents who ride the bus are provided a visual history of people, places and moments that have benefitted the Black community and the American people. This year, the bus will feature new additions: Rodeo Hall of Famer Bill Pickett, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and the cities of Durham, N.C. and Philadelphia.

To further commemorate this month, the Heritage Ride will also visit Greensboro middle schools and allow students to board the bus to “view the diverse images and take a brief ride as they learn about public transportation and how it has played a strategic role in civil rights locally and nationally.”

It’s been a busy and educational month! How have you been celebrating Black History Month? 

The Better Bike Share Partnership is a JPB Foundation-funded collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the PeopleForBikes Foundation to build equitable and replicable bike share systems. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or sign up for our weekly newsletter. Story tip? Write farrah@peopleforbikes.org.